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Rework Explored
Rework Explored
Rework Explored
Rework Explored
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Rework Explored
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Rework Explored

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Andrew Larkin of webpurity.co.uk explores Rework and how its ideas can help small business - especially those working with software.

Andrew Larkin of webpurity.co.uk explores Rework and how its ideas can help small business - especially those working with software.

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  • Hopefully this presentation makes you consider buying the book - it is well worth a read and a re-read :) Check it out at http://37signals.com/rework/
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  • Written by the founders of a company called 37signals and based purely on their experience in business. A business that has been profitable through two recessions, one burst bubble and lots of doom and gloom predictions. Intentionally small company making software for other small companies and has over 3 million customers worldwide. Started as a web consultancy in 1999 but in 2004 they decided to develop some tools for themselves, as they were not happy with what was on the market. -- All their products are based on simplicity and ease of use. Basecamp – Online tool for project management generating millions of dollars a year in profits Highrise – CRM and sales tracking tool storing more than 10 million contacts Backpack – knowledge sharing tool with over 500,000 users Campfire – real-time business chat tool which has sent over 100 million messages -- Critics of this book & company don’t understand how it can: reject growth, meetings, budgets, board of directors, advertising and sales people yet still thrive have employees who barely see each other and are spread across eight cities succeed without a financial plan get publicity in Times magazine, Business Week and the FT without a PR firm But they have done all these things and more. The reason I love this book is because a lot of the concepts are based on the revolution which is still happening in the my industry today. Like any good revolution it has been brewing for about 25 years but it is finally becoming common practice and my hope is that some of ideas in this book will have the same impact.
  • My background is software development. Since 1999 I have spent many a year being drained of all enthusiasm, watching project after project turn into a time wasting, money eating, pit of despair. I don’t know how much the government has spent on software projects for the NHS over the years, but it would easily be enough to keep Business Exchange running for at least another decade! This is a classic example of software gone mad! It is like a huge game of Chinese whispers. You gather requirements from the customer and then spend anywhere from 6 months to 6 years in hiding, developing this monster which when finally unveiled to the end user for the first time is NOTHING like what they were looking for. -- The main problem being the translation of taking what the customer has asked for and turning that into something engineers can understand. These same engineers or analysts then effectively become the customer and they validate and verify the project at certain stages to make sure process are followed, everyone is meeting deadlines and boxes are getting ticked.
  • The revolution I mentioned is a new approach to software development which is called AGILE. The main premise being you deliver early and often to the customer so they can determine how things are progressing and embrace change at every stage of the project. -- Website projects are very well suited to this way of working – with the emphasis on design. We talk to clients at their level. Someone wants a shopping basket – they don’t need to know about the database, the code the different layers and how they communicate with each other. They just want a shopping basket. We deliver designs and draft versions of sites as early as we can to ensure we are on the right track. Doesn’t matter if some of the work is unfinished, the important part is getting in front of the customer so they can provide feedback at every stage in the process. -- I believe small businesses need this level of agility and flexibility to survive and can learn a lot from this. Not much point treating your business like a massive 5 year project with plans and strategies and process so it becomes so rigid it cannot adapt to or embrace change.
  • #1 EMBRACE CONSTRAINTS Less is a good thing. Constraints are an advantage in disguise! They force you to do more with what you have got and that makes you more creative. Example: Shakespeare revelled in restricting himself to sonnets in order to force his creativity We try and restrict web pages to one single and clear CTA or goal MOSCOW for requirements on tight deadlines #2 START AT THE CENTRE Start with what you HAVE to do. Not what you could do or even the stuff you want to do. Ask yourself “If I took this away would what I am selling still exist?” Example: The “hot dog” is central – not the cart, condiments, name or decoration. You can take away the onions and the mustard. #3 DECISIONS ARE PROGRESS When you put off decisions, they just pile up and go nowhere. Decide and move forward. Decisions can be changed – doesn’t matter if it’s the wrong one. What matters is progress. Swap “Lets think about that” for “Lets decide on that”. Example: 37signals avoided an affiliate scheme because the perfect solution was too complicated. So they made a decision to only pay affiliates in credit instead of cash. They now pay them with cash but credit worked fine for a while.
  • #4 THROW LESS AT A PROBLEM When things aren’t working. CUT BACK. Don’t throw more money or resources it only amplifies the problem. So do less. It won’t suffer as much as you might think and it will force you to concentrate on what matters. Example: Gordon Ramsay’s kitchen nightmares. Strips away ALL the complication – simplifies the menu. #5 FOCUS ON WHAT WON’T CHANGE Pay attention to things that last instead of try to follow trends or keep up with the next big thing. The core of you business should be built around things that won’t change. Example: Amazon focuses on fast/free shipping and great prices Japanese car manufacturers focus on reliability and affordability We focus on simple but effective websites #6 INTERRUPTION IS THE ENEMY If you are working evenings and weekends it because you are not getting enough done when your at work! Think about when you get the most done? NOONE works 8 hours a day there is always something that interrupts us. 10 minute conversation actually takes about 30mins out of your working day by the time you refocus on what you were doing. It’s like REM or a deep sleep. The day is actually made up of work moments (45m – 15m – 1hr). Example: Focus on some alone time away from the phone or Facebook Have a no-talk period in the office I tend to pick up calls and emails twice a day and the rest of the time the phone and email is off
  • #7 MEETINGS ARE TOXIC Common in meetings to drift off topic take way longer than expected. They require preparation in advance with little or no agenda and they procreate. Funny how all meetings are 30min to an hour – no-one sets a 7 minute meeting (maybe because the calendar software doesn’t allow it). Example: Begin with a problem and end with actions to tackle the problem (or a solution) Meet at the site of the problem – rather than in a meeting room We have daily stand-ups – no longer than 15 mins where each person answers three simple questions What did you do yesterday? What are you working on today? Is there anything stopping you? Someone chairs these stand-up and they ensure no-one goes off topic #8 WE ARE BAD AT ESTIMATING As humans we are just bad at it. A trip to the shop can be anywhere from 10mins to an hour. You never know what is going to happen. The bigger the estimate the worse it gets: Channel tunnel – 1 year late, est. 4.8bn ended up at 10bn Wembley stadium - 8 years late double the budget Scottish Parliament - est. 40m capped at 195m Break things down to smaller things that are easier to estimate. 12 week project into 12 1 week projects. Example: - We work in two week iterations and all projects are broken down to small tasks which are easier to estimate #9 SELL YOUR BY PRODUCTS When you make something you always make something else. Spot these by products and turn them into opportunities. Example: Lumber industry sells sawdust and shredded wood One of my favourite bands Wilco recorded themselves making an album and released it as a documentary Henry Ford created Ford Charcoal after discovering how to make charcoal from car wood scraps. It is now Kingsford Charcoal the largest in the US. We optimise content for clients which can be used to write their linked in/twitter profile We also create designs which can easily be transferred to business cards/flyers and facebook/twitter branding
  • # 10 GOOD ENOUGH IS FINE You don’t always need the perfect (often over-complicated) solution. Better to find a JUDO solution. Maximum impact – minimum effort. Realise that problems are negotiable, not set in stone. JUDO them which is better than over complicating them or doing nothing. Example: Political campaign adverts – issue pops up and the advert is out next day – low budget with voice over images but it does the trick In software we have the notion of GOOD, BETTER, BEST #11 DECOMMODOTISE YOUR PRODUCT If you are successful people will try to copy what you do. So make your product something no-one else can offer! Make YOU a part of your product. Inject what is unique about YOU and way YOU think into your product. Example: Zappos shoe company – sells customer service. Staff are encouraged to spend time with customers and everyone starts at that level Polyface farm – sells on being environmentally friendly. No corn for cows, no antibiotics, never ships food but people drive 150 miles to get clean meat. #12 UNDERDO YOUR COMPETITION Always trying to be one better is a cold war mentality and it is dead (or at least dying). It leads to your business being defensive and following instead of leading. Take the simple problems and solve them well rather. Beat your competition by doing less and be proud of it! Example: Nintendo Wii – Sony and Microsoft so focussed on each others product they missed the gap! Flip camcorder – ultra simple with no settings, light, menus, zoom, memory card
  • #13 Say NO by default It is easy to YES. Yes to unrealistic deadline, yes to over demanding client. How many times do you think I wish I hadn’t? Start saying no. Use it to get your priorities straight. You rarely regret saying no. Be honest, polite and explain why. People are surprisingly understanding. Refer them on to a competitor. Example: - ING Direct – fastest growing bank in the US by saying no to credit cards, online brokerage, large sums of money #14 Out-teach your competition Advertising, sales, events are all something your competition is doing. So how do you stand out from the rest? Instead of trying to outspend and outsell them – out-teach them! I bet few of your competitors are teaching. Teaching forms a bond you do not get from traditional marketing or selling. It breeds loyalty. Example: Design company which teaches designers about typography at typography.com Online wine retailer teaches people about wine online at Wine TV #15 Marketing is not a department. Accounting is a department. Marketing isn’t. Marketing is something EVERYONE in your company is doing 24/7/365. Answer the phone, send an email, every word on your website, your invoices, the checkout counter and even after dinner mints! Recognise that all these things are just as if not more important than the stuff you throw into a conference goodie bag.
  • Written by the founders of a company called 37signals and based purely on their experience in business. A business that has been profitable through two recessions, one burst bubble and lots of doom and gloom predictions. Intentionally small company making software for other small companies and has over 3 million customers worldwide. Started as a web consultancy in 1999 but in 2004 they decided to develop some tools for themselves, as they were not happy with what was on the market. -- All their products are based on simplicity and ease of use. Basecamp – Online tool for project management generating millions of dollars a year in profits Highrise – CRM and sales tracking tool storing more than 10 million contacts Backpack – knowledge sharing tool with over 500,000 users Campfire – real-time business chat tool which has sent over 100 million messages -- Critics of this book & company don’t understand how it can: reject growth, meetings, budgets, board of directors, advertising and sales people yet still thrive have employees who barely see each other and are spread across eight cities succeed without a financial plan get publicity in Times magazine, Business Week and the FT without a PR firm But they have done all these things and more. The reason I love this book is because a lot of the concepts are based on the revolution which is still happening in the my industry today. Like any good revolution it has been brewing for about 25 years but it is finally becoming common practice and my hope is that some of ideas in this book will have the same impact.
  • Transcript

    • 1. 37signals started in 1999 and now has over 3 million customers Developed four products based on simplicity: Basecamp, Highrise, Backpack & Campfire Remain a success despite rejecting growth, budgets & advertising w: webpurity.co.uk | e: alarkin@webpurity.co.uk | t: @alarkin77
    • 2. w: webpurity.co.uk | e: alarkin@webpurity.co.uk | t: @alarkin77
    • 3. w: webpurity.co.uk | e: alarkin@webpurity.co.uk | t: @alarkin77
    • 4. w: webpurity.co.uk | e: alarkin@webpurity.co.uk | t: @alarkin77 #1 EMBRACE CONSTRAINTS #3 DECISIONS ARE PROGRESS #2 START AT THE CENTRE
    • 5. w: webpurity.co.uk | e: alarkin@webpurity.co.uk | t: @alarkin77 #4 THROW LESS AT A PROBLEM #5 FOCUS ON WHAT WON’T CHANGE #6 INTERRUPTION IS THE ENEMY
    • 6. w: webpurity.co.uk | e: alarkin@webpurity.co.uk | t: @alarkin77 #8 WE ARE BAD AT ESTIMATING #7 MEETINGS ARE TOXIC #9 SELL YOUR BY PRODUCTS
    • 7. w: webpurity.co.uk | e: alarkin@webpurity.co.uk | t: @alarkin77 #10 GOOD ENOUGH IS FINE #11 DECOMMODOTISE YOUR PRODUCT #12 UNDERDO THE COMPETITION
    • 8. w: webpurity.co.uk | e: alarkin@webpurity.co.uk | t: @alarkin77 #13 SAY NO BY DEFAULT #14 OUT-TEACH THE COMPETITION #15 MARKETING IS NOT A DEPT.
    • 9. w: webpurity.co.uk | e: alarkin@webpurity.co.uk | t: @alarkin77

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